Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry
Honorary Professor, UHI Millennium Institute
The Birchall Centre
Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK.
Group Leader - Bioinorganic Chemistry Laboratory
I am a Biologist (University of Stirling) with a PhD in the ecotoxicology of aluminium (University of Stirling). My research career (1984-present) has focussed upon an intriguing paradox; 'how
come the third most abundant element of the Earth's crust (aluminium) is non-essential and largely inimcal to life'. Investigating this mystery has required research in myriad fields from the
basic inorganic chemistry of the reaction of aluminium and silicon to the potentially complex biological availability of aluminium in humans. I am also fascinated by the element silicon in
relation to living things which, as the second most abundant element of the Earth's crust, is also almost devoid of biological function. One possible function of silicon is to keep aluminium out
of biology (biota) and this forms a large part of the research in our group. We are also interested in biological silicification.